History of Science and Technology in Islam

The Arabic Origin of Summa perfectionis magisterii

And the Other Geber Latin Works


Calcinations by Fire Only or By the Acuity of Salt

a short note


We continue our search for similarities between the texts of Geber’s Summa and the other Geber Latin works and between the Arabic works of Jabir ibn Hayyan. This is another important process that is described in similar terms in both the Latin and the Arabic texts.


Geber, Summa, Russell’s translation, p. 103[1]


For soft Bodies have one General way, according  to the Intention of Calcination, viz. that both may be calcined  by Fire only; and by the Acuity of Salt prepared or not  prepared, both likewise.


Jabir, The Book of Seventy, Kitab al-manfa’a, Sezgin p. 361, Lory p. 159 [2]


Then its calcination …in preparation is done in two ways and two paths, one by burning in fire and the other by corroding with acute and salty corrosive materials.

ثم ان تكليسها ... في  التدبير على جهتين وسبيلين احدهما بالاحراق بالنار والاخر بالتصدئة بالاشياء الحادة والمالحة الاكالة.



[1] The Alchemical Works of Geber, Translated by Richard Russell, Introduction by E. J. Holmyard, Reproduced by Samuel Weiser,  1994.

[2] Kitab al-Sab’in كتاب السبعين The Book of Seventy, Produced by offset by Fuat Sezgin from MS Huseyin Celebi 743,  Frankfurt, 1986,  Also, Tadbir al-Iksir al-A’zam,  تدبير الاكسير الاعظمedited by P.Lory, Damascus, 1988.

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